Four-legged patients can be just as good for your pharmacy business as two-legged ones.
Pets are an emerging opportunity for independent community pharmacies. A new study examining pet medication from Trone Brand Energy and Brakke Consulting found that 62 percent of Americans have at least one pet in their household, and 95 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be family members.
Americans spent $13.75 billion on over-the-counter (OTC) medications in 2014 for their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association, a not-for-profit trade association organization of more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers. And, the average pet owner spends $425.70 on medical costs for their pets each year.
Margins for pet medications can top 20 percent, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). And, according to the Trone Brand Energy and Brakke Consulting study, pet owners are increasingly turning to retail pharmacies to fill their pet’s medications.
Here are five ways to make your pharmacy more pet-friendly and boost your business with furry patients.
1. Have a water bowl for pets
Keep a dog bowl outside your pharmacy filled with water so dogs can have a drink.
Even if most patients don’t bring their dogs to your pharmacy, this small gesture of kindness toward pets will get pet-owner patients’ attention. This can be especially effective if your pharmacy is located in an area with heavy foot-traffic.
Also, put a sign near the bowl saying that while non-service animals aren’t allowed inside your pharmacy, you do carry pet treats, health supplies and offer flavoring for pets’ medications.
2. Offer flavoring for pets’ medications
More and more, pet owners are turning to traditional retail pharmacies to fill their pet’s medication, and flavoring pets’ medications can encourage their owners to come to your pharmacy.
Let your patients know that you can fill pets’ medication, and that you offering flavoring to make medicine-taking easier.
Also, consider stocking toys or treats that make it easier to get pets to take their medicine.
3. Use pet-themed signage
Pictures, signs and posters of animals let patients know that your business loves animals and wants to help.
Many patients likely don’t know about the pet services and products that your pharmacy carries, and signs are a great way to let them know that these are available.
Also, encourage your employees to display pictures of their pets in their workspaces, so pet-owner patients know your employees love pets, too.
4. Partner with a veterinarian
Get in touch with a local veterinarian’s office and schedule a meeting with the veterinarian to talk about how you can work together to help keep pets healthy.
Build a good rapport with the veterinarian and he or she will be happy to send furry patients your way. Be sure to let the veterinarian know that you can fill pet prescriptions and flavor them, too.
5. Support a local animal shelter
Work with a local animal shelter to support pets that need adoption. Consider hosting a fundraiser for a local shelter, having a jar at the cash register to collect donations or selling pet-themed calendars to fundraise for the animal shelter.
Support the shelter and help pets in need of a good home by featuring the picture of an animal available for adoption at a local shelter in a “pet of the week” poster. Hang the picture near your checkout register, or include it in your weekly newsletter.
Patients with pets will appreciate your support of animals-in-need, and one of your patients might just find his or her next pet while checking out at your pharmacy.
Use these tips to make your pharmacy more pet-friendly and see how four-legged patients can boost your bottom line.